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Quinta Real Villahermosa–Villahermosa, Mexico

Paseo Usumacinta 1402, Fracc. La Choca, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico

Although most of its guests are in Villahermosa on business, the Quinta Real draws on the chain's luxury expertise elsewhere in Mexico to create a more lavish experience than can be had at any other hotel in the city..

Located in a green, wealthy neighborhood (the Cadillac dealership is just down the street) and set back from the road behind a fountain and a circle drive, the Quinta Real Villahermosa looks like a grand historic mansion. In fact, it was built from scratch in 2006.

With its shiny granite floors, intricate Pakistani rugs, glittering chandeliers and towering oil paintings of saints, the lobby strives for antique grandeur. There's still a faint veneer of newness, but overall, the style hits a truer note than some beachfront resorts that flaunt the faux–historic look.

And while the place has all the style of a venerable mansion, it does not have any of the attendant hassles, such as odd–size rooms tucked in former maid's quarters or retrofitted, not–very–efficient air–conditioning systems. In fact, the rooms––with the same granite floors overlaid with plush carpets––are vast and fully climate–controlled. They also have all the usual luxury details, from triple–sheeted beds to a pillow menu and generous amenities (both Molton Brown and Bulgari). The furniture is all dark, antique–look wood, set against pale cream walls. The ceilings are quite high, and windows overlook a large central courtyard. Bathrooms, while not incredibly large, do have twin sinks and sunken tubs with powerful water pressure––often hard to come by in Mexico.

The underlying business focus of the hotel is revealed in small details: very large desks in the rooms, motivational quotes left on your pillow at turndown, and a pile–up at the front desk at checkout time, as Mexican businessmen request extra–official paperwork for expenses. One much larger shortcoming of the property is that there is no spa––but then, no hotel in Villahermosa has one. There are, however, two large and lovely swimming pools––a great relief in the Tabasco humidity.

The hotel's dining options, while perfectly satisfactory, also don't quite hit the mark for true luxury. The main restaurant, Per Se (not to be confused with Thomas Keller's New York City gastro–temple), is ambitious but is ultimately most successful with local specialties, such as pejelagarto, the river fish beloved here, seasoned with a powerfully hot salsa.

Despite the few shortcomings, the hotel is nonetheless the best in Villahermosa. For leisure visitors doing sightseeing in and around the city, it's conveniently located––only a few minutes' taxi ride to Parque La Venta, and very close to the ring road for easy trips out of town. Much more than its competitors, Quinta Real Villahermosa feels like a real retreat in this crowded city.

Web Address: Quinta Real Villahermosa
Total Number of Rooms: 114
Published rates: $160 to $1,350

Review and small photo by Zora O'Neill, additional photo courtesy of hotel.

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